This is the third occasion, while writing for SLUK, that I’ve had an incident whilst using a Shoei helmet. This time it’s even more bizarre, but like a Thai massage, it has a happy ending.
The last two occasions that a Shoei saved my live were at a Tre Mari raid organised by Vespa Club of Bari when in a rainstorm I slid off on a treacherous southern Italian road. My fault, I should have been going slower in those conditions because the surface was like ice.
After that I managed to perform a Superman flight over the handlebars of a Lambretta Vega when Marco on another Vega turned across in front of me and I hit the rear of his scooter. It turns out that my flying ability is more Buzz Lightyear than Superman. Let’s call it ‘falling with style’.
On both of these occasions my Shoei hit the ground, damaging the painted surface, but I suffered no concussion.
If you go by the book, then you are supposed to dispose of a damaged crash helmet straight away. Once the internal polystyrene impact-absorbing layer has been compressed the helmet is no longer working to maximum efficiency.
In the real world, when you are riding abroad, as long as it isn’t smashed to bits then you’ll carry on wearing that helmet to get you home. It’s not ideal but you often don’t have any choice. Thankfully, my Shoei helmets have always survived well enough that I can ride home without comfort or vision being compromised. They really are well-made bits of kit.
Highway to Hull
Back in February, when we were still allowed to ride places, a bunch of us rode to Scooterist Meltdown in Germany. On the last stretch before the outgoing ferry Tracy’s Maicoletta suffered a problem with the throttle cable. I pulled into a trading estate outside Hull to visit Halfords and try to repair the scooter.
While fitting two new lengths of cycle outer cable to the Maico in Halford’s car park, some plank in a VW Transporter pulled in nearby, taking up two parking spaces, and then went into the shop. Minutes later, camper-van-man then pulls out of the car park. In doing so, he cuts across the space we were working in and drags my Shoei several metres along the tarmac with his back wheel.
Tracy shouted to the driver to stop; which he did before opening his door to find out what the fuss was about. I asked him to reverse up so I could get the helmet from under the van.
No sooner had he said “you mad-heads, I thought I’d run someone over” before he jumped back in his van and drove off!
Bear in mind that this is an expensive Japanese crash helmet fitted with a Sena Prism video camera and intercom!
How to handle a drive-off incident
Thankfully, because it wasn’t a high-adrenaline crash, we managed to think clearly and do the right things, at the right time and in the right order:
- Make a note of the vehicle registration number. Keep reciting it out loud until you can write it down or type it into a phone.
- Call 999. Talk to the emergency services and tell them what happened. While the only damage was to property, someone rapidly leaving the scene without swapping details displays all the hallmarks of a driver with something else to hide.
- Ask around for witnesses and take their details. Luckily for us one of the trading estate security guys was right by us at the time, so we took his name and contact number.
- Take photographs of the location and the damage at the time. Photos can be useful for proving the weather conditions in case the other party claims it was foggy, wet or dark when it wasn’t. I forgot to do this.
What happened next
Given that this wasn’t actually a traffic incident involving our vehicle I wasn’t sure if my insurance company would be able to help. I’m insured with Classicline Insurance. Operations Director there – Darren – is a scooterist and understands the modifications that we do to our scooters.
Classicline is one of very few firms that will insure motorcycle-engine-converted scooters like the 400cc Maicoletta I built for our Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle trip.
I explained the situation to Darren, and that I really didn’t want to lose my No Claims Bonus (NCB) just because some dickhead had driven over my crash helmet. His interpretation of the situation was that at the time I was effectively a pedestrian and as our vehicle was not involved, it should have no effect on my NCB.
Darren explained that he would not be able to contact the vehicle driver but he could tell from the Motor Insurance Board Database that the van was insured. As such he elected to pass the job of recovering my damages to a claims-handling company that Classicline use called Proximo.
What would be really handy, Darren explained, would be some security camera footage from the car park, and photographs of the damaged lid.
VIDEO | Helmet-hurting horror
Smile, you are on camera!
I’m not a big fan of the high-surveillance society we live in but every now and again it comes in handy.
Thankfully, Keith and Karl from the trading estate came up trumps with some footage from their security cameras which they mailed to me once I’d sent up a USB stick and a stamped return envelope.
The footage showed exactly what I described. All of the action takes place in the top left corner.
What kind of plum just drives off after doing something like that?
Boys (and girls) in blue
Fair play to Humberside police, I actually took a call from them a few weeks later about the incident. After the last decade of cuts to policing, and with no injuries except to property, I didn’t expect anything more than a crime number.
The policewoman who called checked my version of events and said she’d give our run-away driver a visit. I’ve heard no more since.
I was both shocked and gratified to get the call, especially as this was at the start of the Covid-19 panic.
I’m very pleased to say that the guys from Proximo called today. The other party’s insurers had paid up the full amount of my claim and Proximo wanted to transfer me the money. Go on then!
Obviously, given that we were heading for a ferry when it happened I had no choice but to wear the same Shoei to Germany and back. In fairness it stood up to being dragged down the road pretty well but it definitely needed replacing to be on the safe side.
What shall I replace it with?
I’ve already got myself another Shoei NXR. Why change a winning formula?
SLUK Shop – no drive-by shopping here